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Kite-Flying in Saigon in the Age of Coronavirus

As normal daily life grinds to a halt, last weekend was the final chance for some Saigoneers to take part in a favorite pastime: flying kites at sunset.

With all non-essential businesses closing this weekend and the Ministry of Health advising residents to stay home as much as possible, life is going to be dramatically different over the next few weeks.

Of course, it's been different for some time, given the ratcheting tension of the Covid-19 pandemic, but even last weekend, Saigon retained some level of normalcy. Many businesses had already closed, yes, but many people still wanted to do something outside.

On Sunday afternoon, I cycled over to Thu Thiem and found a remarkable scene: hundreds of people flying hundreds of kites in the clear, breezy sky. Was this perfect social distancing? No, though many individual groups were keeping their distance from each other.

Perhaps this could be seen as Saigon's last hurrah before it largely shuts down for the foreseeable future. I can certainly think of less wholesome ways to get in one last jolt of excitement before shuttering your gate and hunkering down at home.

For now, enjoy these shots of Saigon at its best, before the 'great empty' arrived here as well, and look forward to the day when we can all gather in Thu Thiem to fly our kites in the great vaulted sky again.

Darkroom is a Saigoneer series documenting the beauty and stories of Vietnam via photographs. If you have a compelling story you wish to share, send us an email via contribute@saigoneer.com.

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